Daily Archive: 04/19/2014

Apr 19 2014

Random Japan

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With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

  Casey Baseel

Theme restaurants can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re munching on Final Fantasy desserts or knocking back a cocktail while surrounded by witches and monsters, a little break with reality can be just the secret ingredient you need for a satisfying meal.

Except, what do you do if you can’t round up a posse to go with you? Playing make-believe in a group can be fun, when everyone is egging each other on and having a good laugh, but most people feel awkward enough eating in a normal restaurant alone, let alone one that’s recreating a fictional world.

Thankfully, the Moomin Café has a solution to the solo-dining dilemma: they’ll seat stuffed versions of the beloved cartoons’ characters at your table to keep you company.

Apr 19 2014

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness NewsWelcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Applause for Avocados

Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa photo 18recipehealth-master675_zpsaebffbc8.jpg

The Hass avocados I’ve been working with lately are nutty and rich, and I’ve been doing a lot more than slicing them up for sandwiches and mashing them for guacamole. I’ve been blending them with tomatillos and chiles into creamy salsas, and making surprising salads. One of them is a Chilean cabbage slaw that the chef Iliana de la Vega made at the recent “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” conference at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. That was a revelation – coleslaw meets guacamole, two of my favorite dishes rolled into one.

Although we are now seeing studies showing that saturated fats might not be so bad after all, I hesitate to say that avocados are filled with “good fats.” But the fact is, they are. The fats in avocados, which include a generous amount of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, aid in the absorption not only of their own many fat-soluble phytonutrients, including antioxidants such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, but also the nutrients in the foods you combine avocados with.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Suvir Saran’s Guacamole With Toasted Cumin

A chunky guacamole that shows how Indian and Mexican flavors overlap.

Chilean Cabbage and Avocado Slaw

This is a simple yet addictive mix of salted cabbage and puréed avocado.

Roasted Tomatillo-Poblano-Avocado Salsa

A salsa with a balance of char, heat, acid and creamy, based on a recipe by Kim Sunée.

Chunky Avocado-Papaya Salsa

This salsa is closer to a salad, with a fusion of Thai and Mexican flavors.

Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Roasting the tomatillos produces a salsa with a deliciously charred flavor.

Apr 19 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: Terror Watch Lists Run Amok

After eight years of confounding litigation and coordinated intransigence, the Justice Department this week grudgingly informed (pdf) Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian architecture professor, that she was no longer on the federal government’s vastly overbroad no-fly list.

The official admission, made under court order, is one of the few shards of information about Dr. Ibrahim’s erroneous inclusion on the list that she has been allowed to see. Much of the rest – including the specific grounds for repeatedly denying her a visa to return to the United States – has been kept hidden under a claim of protecting state secrets. [..]

In a recently unredacted portion (pdf) of his January ruling, Judge Alsup noted that in 2009 the government added Dr. Ibrahim back to its central terrorist-screening database under a “secret exception” to its own standard of proof. This would be laughable if it weren’t such a violation of basic rights. A democratic society premised on due process and open courts cannot tolerate such behavior.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well. [..]

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the “anti-business,” “socialist” and “oppressive” Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

Eugene Robinson: On Climate, Business as Usual

The world’s predicament on climate change reminds me of an old saying: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

Despite mounting evidence that global warming is an urgent crisis, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases grew faster between 2000 and 2010 than over the previous three decades, according to an authoritative new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Some governments have instituted policies to try to hold down emissions of carbon dioxide-by far the biggest contributor to climate change-but these measures do not go nearly far enough. We’re doing a Michael Jackson moonwalk, appearing to move ahead while actually sliding backward-toward what scientists fear is an abyss.

David Sirota: Will Government Use Its New Leverage Over the Financial Industry?

If you read one business book this year, make it “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis. The journalist famous for “Moneyball” and “The Big Short” takes readers inside the parasitic world of high-frequency trading that is harming the broader economy.

The technical architecture of high-frequency trading is right out of a sci-fi movie-the schemes rely on algorithms that seem artificially intelligent, and the velocity of transaction signals approach light speed. As Lewis recounts, all that technological wizardry is marshaled to let insiders know information before everyone else, which consequently lets those insiders extract wealth from the market.

The good news is that a financial transaction tax can at once raise public resources and disincentivize the most predatory schemes. The even better news is that structural changes in the industry have made such a tax more economically viable than ever.

Greg Palast: Lap Dancers, the CIA, Payoffs and BP’s Deepwater Horizon

There was CIA involvement through a company called Mega Oil. They were shipping in arms under the cover of oil tools.”

The BP executive was explaining to me how the CIA, MI6 and British Petroleum engineered a coup d’état, overthrowing a nation’s elected president who was “not favorable to BP.” The corporation’s former vice president, Leslie Abrahams, is pictured above, holding an AK-47 in front of BP’s offices in Baku, Azerbaijan. Like most of the other BP executives I spoke with, he proudly added that although he was working for BP, he was also an operative for MI6, British intelligence.

This conversation, which took place in 2010, was far from the weirdest I had in my four-continent investigation of the real story of the Deepwater Horizon. [..]

To understand what really happened in the Gulf of Mexico, and how BP became a corporate creature beyond the reach of the law, British television network Channel 4 sent me on an investigation through a labyrinthine fun house of bribery, lap dancing, beatings, WikiLeaks, a coup d’état, arrests and oil-state terror.

I found the cause of the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon 7,000 miles from the Gulf in the ancient city of Baku, the Central Asian caravan stop on the Silk Road.

Joe Conason: Congratulations! A New Conspiracy Is Born

With the happy news that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky expect their first child later this year, the Clinton family can anticipate warm good wishes from most Americans-and a less uplifting response from all of the usual suspects.

The inane, but mostly harmless, speculation from the pundit class already has begun. How will Hillary Rodham Clinton’s prospective future as a grandmother, they ask, affect her potential candidacy for the presidency? (Not at all, except in the minds of the political geniuses who have never noticed that most presidents and many candidates were grandfathers.) Even more inanely, a prominent columnist suggested on television that her daughter’s announcement might actually be a scheme to “soften” Hillary’s image and improve voters’ opinions of her.

Apr 19 2014

The Breakfast Club (Messiah)

Got your sitz muscles on and your warm beer and cold pizza ready?  Good, because today I have 2 and a half solid hours of Baroque Oratorio for you.

 photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps646fca37.pngI told you to expect something completely different.

Most people associate Handel’s Messiah with what I jocularly call ek’smas because I’m a stone cold atheist.  My teacher was just a guy who had it all, rebeled against it, saw that that didn’t quite cut it either, and spent the rest of his life under a tree teaching people how to get off the wheel until, at a ripe old age, he got off it himself.

No martyrdom.  No expiation of your personal sins in the face of “divine justice”.  No resurrection.

Who craves that anyway?  Isn’t this life enough?

If not you’d better get off your ass and start living.

But I was raised a Methodist which in digest form is a very fundamentalist Christian Church that is considered mainstream, even liberal, because they did a lot of proselytizing among African-American slaves so they’re incredibly active in social justice.  There is also a large Latino component.

This strung me along for years in my urban church where I was active in the choir (and looking forward to duckpin bowling in advanced Sunday School which met in the alley in the basement) and annually played the most effeminate Herod you’d ever hope to see while I actively craved Pilate in our production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

I suppose natural first Tenors are not so easy to come by.

Here’s a comparison-

Herod

Pilate

Perhaps they thought I couldn’t handle the math.

If you can you might join me below the fold.

Apr 19 2014

On This Day In History April 19

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

April 19 is the 109th day of the year (110th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 256 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, the American Revolution beginsAt about 5 a.m., 700 British troops, on a mission to capture Patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal, march into Lexington to find 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

First shot

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his “Concord Hymn”, described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the “shot heard “round the world.”

A British officer, probably Pitcairn, but accounts are uncertain, as it may also have been Lieutenant William Sutherland, then rode forward, waving his sword, and called out for the assembled throng to disperse, and may also have ordered them to “lay down your arms, you damned rebels!” Captain Parker told his men instead to disperse and go home, but, because of the confusion, the yelling all around, and due to the raspiness of Parker’s tubercular voice, some did not hear him, some left very slowly, and none laid down their arms. Both Parker and Pitcairn ordered their men to hold fire, but a shot was fired from an unknown source.

According to one member of Parker’s militia none of the Americans had discharged their muskets as they faced the oncoming British troops. The British did suffer one casualty, a slight wound, the particulars of which were corroborated by a deposition made by Corporal John Munroe. Munroe stated that:

   “After the first fire of the regulars, I thought, and so stated to Ebenezer Munroe …who stood next to me on the left, that they had fired nothing but powder; but on the second firing, Munroe stated they had fired something more than powder, for he had received a wound in his arm; and now, said he, to use his own words, ‘I’ll give them the guts of my gun.’ We then both took aim at the main body of British troops the smoke preventing our seeing anything but the heads of some of their horses and discharged our pieces.”

Some witnesses among the regulars reported the first shot was fired by a colonial onlooker from behind a hedge or around the corner of a tavern. Some observers reported a mounted British officer firing first. Both sides generally agreed that the initial shot did not come from the men on the ground immediately facing each other. Speculation arose later in Lexington that a man named Solomon Brown fired the first shot from inside the tavern or from behind a wall, but this has been discredited. Some witnesses (on each side) claimed that someone on the other side fired first; however, many more witnesses claimed to not know. Yet another theory is that the first shot was one fired by the British, that killed Asahel Porter, their prisoner who was running away (he had been told to walk away and he would be let go, though he panicked and began to run). Historian David Hackett Fischer has proposed that there may actually have been multiple near-simultaneous shots. Historian Mark Urban claims the British surged forward with bayonets ready in an undisciplined way, provoking a few scattered shots from the militia. In response the British troops, without orders, fired a devastating volley. This lack of discipline among the British troops had a key role in the escalation of violence.

Nobody except the person responsible knew then, nor knows today with certainty, who fired the first shot of the American Revolution.

Witnesses at the scene described several intermittent shots fired from both sides before the lines of regulars began to fire volleys without receiving orders to do so. A few of the militiamen believed at first that the regulars were only firing powder with no ball, but when they realized the truth, few if any of the militia managed to load and return fire. The rest wisely ran for their lives.